Aug 18, 2015

My Baking Adventures Part 1

Since I have briefly mentioned in this post that I have been baking the past few months, I figured I should share a bit more about this new hobby. I started experimenting with the oven 2 years ago but back then I only bake pre-mixed pastries like brownies and double chocolate cookies. Just add oil and eggs and you're done! Easy-peasy! Baking a cake was a slightly different story so it was only late last year that I had the guts to try it. And friends, promise not to laugh, but this is how my very first cake looked like...

M is for Maddie! Actually, that's me trying to be artistic. I know, it only made things worse! Haha!

But still, my first customers thought it's nice. Or maybe they just love me enough not to hurt my feelings. Lol.

It doesn't look very pretty but it tasted okay. I blamed it to a lot of other things - maybe because it was only a boxed cake mix or maybe the lack of proper baking tools like an electric mixer, piping nozzles or turn table. I could go on and on. That said, I started watching Youtube videos on how to bake from scratch and I frequented baking supply shops and hoarded whatever stuff I saw on those videos.

 First things first. I bought an electric mixer. Just a basic and cheap one but it does the job. I swear, my baking life has been a whole lot better since! :D

I tested the new kitchen gadget and this is the result. There's a bit of improvement on the cake's appearance but more importantly, the mixer made baking quite effortless. No more painful arms after the buttercream preparation! =)

My 2nd cake straight from a Betty Crocker box. Haha.

Since baking became more enjoyable after I got the mixer, I continued shopping for other tools.

Yes, I even got myself a turntable because based on the tutorials, frosting will be a piece of cake when you have one (turns out it's not always the case. haha)

 Even in Daiso (the 2 dollar store), I would go straight to the baking department.

I got so addicted to it that there was one time I spent more than 60 SGD in one go.
I stopped after that because I got some good scolding from my husband. Hahaha.

Even so, I continued receiving gifts from wonderful friends so my bakeware collection grew and grew. 

...Until such time that I felt I am ready to try baking a cake from scratch :D

My first attempt was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I went a little overboard with the carrots so it's heavier and more moist than intended.

It looks good, doesn't it? :) However, my critique husband didn't like it because he doesn't have an idea how a carrot cake tastes like but according to my officemates, it's actually nice! Woohoo!

My first cake baked from scratch. Achievement unlocked! :)

On the same day, I baked chocolate chip cookies as well! J would always comment that when it comes to baking, I don't get tired. To be honest, I get tired, too! But there's just something about it that makes the exhaustion worth it. Perhaps, seeing the flour and butter and eggs and sugar magically transform into something beautiful and sinfully delicious? :)

Can't wait for it to cool, I just had to take one bite!

I tried many other cakes thereafter. I did a red velvet thrice, slowly improving with every try.

1st try: Friends teased me that it was a brown velvet instead of red! Haha! Personally, I'm also not too impressed because I can still taste the flour.

2nd try: The taste and color is so much better now but the other layer crumbled so I had to make do with this. The frosting is also a bit runny.

The last try was a request by one of my close friends for their housewarming party and finally, it was a hit! The guests (mostly our officemates as well) loved it and wouldn't believe that I baked it! :)

I've also made a Filipino favorite, Brazo de Mercedes. Looks good on the outside although I still haven't perfected the custard filling. One day, Maudey. One day :)

Was also able to make meringue cookies from the left over egg whites.
Surprisingly, I got a thumbs up from J for this! =)

Lastly, the cake that I'm most proud of... my Double Chocolate Cake! It's the first time I tried making a ganache (the glossy top layer) and I'm oh so amazed at how pretty it turned out! Scroll all the way up and compare it to my very first cake. Haven't I come a long way already? :D

It's Maddie's 9th month celebration that day hence the number candle.

And because I was too happy about it, I baked the same cake for our Christmas party here at home! Noticed where the cake sits? At this point I've already bought myself a decent cake stand. It's not cheap but I bought it anyway thinking that I will someday have a dessert buffet business and I can put it to good use. Hahaha. Daydreaming 101.

That was also the last real cake that I baked but I still make cupcakes every now and then and just recently, I tried making a Yema Cake because it's a highly-sought-after dessert in the Philippines. Let me tell you more on those in the next installment of My Baking Adventures! 

And oh, if you want the recipes, let me know in the comments! :D

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